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College Bound: Miami's high school seniors prepare for future endeavors

High school seniors prepare for their future endeavors

Ashley Montgomery | 4/17/2014, 9 a.m.

With the end of the school year fast approaching, many high school seniors around Miami-Dade County are preparing to enter the next phase of their lives. Cheers to the many cycles of low educational achievement that will be broken in our inner-city communities this upcoming graduation season.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools currently has 347,997 students enrolled, making it the fourth-largest school district in the country.

Despite the racial or financial backgrounds that these high school seniors face, they all have one common thing on their minds right now: college.

Preparing for college takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There are a lot of important dates to keep up with, there's ACT and SAT test preparation, then balancing extra-curricular activities — the list goes on.

According to research, one thing that makes transitioning from being a high school senior to a freshman in college less stressful is financial security.

Grants and loans are major forms of federal financial aid for degree-seeking undergraduate students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Educators and administrators at Miami Northwestern Senior High are helping more athletes excel in academics to ensure they graduate with alternatives to a career in sports. In addition to college, school officials are educating athletes about various trades, military careers and full-time jobs to help secure their futures.

With more financial aid available to students today, these goals are more attainable. Miami Northwestern is experiencing unprecedented changes because of the high increases in financial aid.

“There’s been a major increase since he [Principal Wallace Aristide] and I walked in together,” said Lamarc Anderson, College Assistance Program (CAP) Advisor at Miami Northwestern. “There was $777,000 worth of scholarships back in 2007, to date we now have over $7.9 million this year alone.”

Principal Aristide, alongside his staff, say they have worked hard to prepare students for the future. They have many campaigns and initiatives on campus to ensure that every child succeeds.

Their efforts are paying off. To date, 350 seniors at Miami Northwestern will graduate this year. Of that amount, 225 of them are prepared to pursue college careers.

At Northwestern, a list titled “Road to Nowhere” was released and posted on a bulletin board during the middle of the school year to spark excitement among students.

“It’s an actual list that is posted with each student’s ID number and no one wants to be on that list,” Aristide said. “Most instances on why they were on there was because they needed to finish some paperwork; there are hardly any names left on that list now — every one is going to be off by the end of the year.”

At Miami Central Senior High Veronica Wesley has recently taken the helm as College Resource Specialist. Since assuming the position last year, Wesley has earned praises from students who admire her for creating a strong “college culture” in a short amount of time.

“She’s really dedicated and throughout the year she’s sat there and worked hands-on with us no matter how redundant or how simple,” said Student Government Association President, Jasmine Rose an 18-year-old senior at Miami Central. “It makes a big difference when you have someone there pushing you to do better.”